Initially green and somewhat bitter in taste, papayas are butter-yellowa when fully ripe and shaped like a pear. Their pale-orange flesh has dozens of small, black, gelitonous seeds at the center, similar to a melon.
Unripe papaya is used in some areas of the world as a vegetable substitute, but is not recommended as a food when green, unless cooked. Recommended ways to eat papaya includes its juice, which is sometimes added to other natural fruit juices because of its pleasing taste, but it’s also wonderful in salads, salsa, and, of course, all by itself.
Papaya is a natural remedy for many ailments, including atherosclerosis, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis, and helps keep your digestive and immune systems healthy. Papaya also contains the flavonoid beta carotene, which studies have proven to help protect against lung and mouth cancers. Other flavonoids, namely lutein, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthins, have potent antioxidant properties against free radicals that can wear down your body and cause premature aging and degenerative diseases.